TigerRisk Adds Kusche for Catastrophe Deals in Banking Push

  • Company added Tony Ursano last year for investment banking
  • Kusche anticipates increased demand for catastrophe bonds

TigerRisk Partners hired Philipp Kusche from Swiss Re AG as the reinsurance broker seeks to put together more deals involving Wall Street investors who are looking to make bets tied to natural disasters.

Kusche was named global head of insurance-linked securities and capital solutions, the Stamford, Connecticut-based company said Monday in a statement. He will be based in New York in the newly created position and report to President Tony Ursano. Kusche formerly led the structuring and origination of insurance-linked securities, or ILS, at Swiss Re Capital Markets, according to the statement.

TigerRisk has been adding senior staff as the firm challenges larger brokers like Marsh & McLennan Cos. and Willis Towers Watson Plc in capital markets deals. Ursano, a former Bank of America Corp. dealmaker, joined last year from Willis. He then brought on Steven Bensinger, who oversaw American International Group Inc.’s finances during the early part of the global credit crisis, to advise clients.

There’s been a “big push to establish investment banking operations” under Ursano, Kusche said in a phone interview. “And I think now, with me joining, that really completes the picture in that sense.”

Catastrophe Bonds

Issuance has been climbing in recent years for ILS, including catastrophe bonds, which are sold to fixed-income investors to help cover extreme hazards such as hurricanes or earthquakes. Buyers of the securities get above-market interest rates for taking the risk that they could lose principal in the event of a qualifying disaster, and Kusche said demand could increase further because yields are so low these days in more traditional fixed-income holdings.

“Given the general financial-market environment of low interest rates, I think investors continue to appreciate the diversifying nature of these types of assets,” Kusche said of cat bonds. “I fully expect that trend to continue.”

Kusche has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Bauhaus University in Germany and a masters in the same field from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, according to the statement. He joined Zurich-based Swiss Re in 2002 and was transferred in 2006 to New York to join the ILS practice, TigerRisk said.

“Philipp’s combined reinsurance and capital markets background is a perfect fit,” TigerRisk founder and Chief Executive Officer Rod Fox said in the statement.

Reinsurers like Swiss Re provide backup coverage for primary carriers. A spokesman for that company didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

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